CFP – International Pearl-Poet Society – ICMS 2018

Call for Papers – ICMS 2018

The International Pearl-Poet Society is sponsoring three sessions at the 53rdInternational Congress on Medieval Studies (May 10-13, 2018) at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.

1) Postcards from the Edge: Boundaries & Liminality in the Gawain-poet (paper session)

Hailing from, and possibly writing in, the Northwest Midlands, the poet of the Cotton Nero A.x poems was acutely aware of the tensions between the centre and periphery. Like Gawain venturing forth from the warmth of Arthur’s court to wander the Welsh marches, this session explores the role and function of the outside, the edge, and the in-between in the works of the Gawain-poet.

2) Play & Performance in the Pearl-poet (paper session)

This session moves beyond the critical discussion of ludic elements in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to take a more broad approach to play and performance in the poems of Cotton Nero A.x and St. Erkenwald. This wider scope allows for investigations of the poet’s interest in word games, competing voices and discourses, and the role of courtly entertainments in and for the poems.

3) A Readers’ Theatre of the Gawain-poet (performance session)

This session offers participants a chance to indulge in the texture of the poet’s rich language in the original Northwest Midlands dialect. We welcome monologues, dialogues, and performances by many voices. Please indicate the names of participants and the section of the text you will be performing.

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We invite abstracts from scholars of all levels. Papers may deal with one or all of the poems by the Pearl-poet. Paper sessions will consist of four fifteen-minute presentations with thirty minutes. We ask participants in the Readers’ Theatre to limit their performances to twenty minutes maximum.

Please send your abstract (max. 300 words) and the completed Participant Information Form (https://wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2017/medieval-pif-2018.doc) by 15 September 2017 to

Benjamin Barootes
Centre for Medieval Studies
University of Toronto
125 Queen’s Park Crescent
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1A1 Canada
bsw.barootes@utoronto.ca

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The Signifying Power of Pearl by Jane Beal

beal-signifyingcvr-2016

The Signifying Power of Pearl

by Jane Beal

This book enhances our understanding of the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem Pearl. Situating the study in the contexts of medieval literary criticism and contemporary genre theory, Beal argues that the poet intended Pearl to be read at four levels of meaning and in four corresponding genres: literally, an elegy; spiritually, an allegory; morally, a consolation; and anagogically, a revelation. The book addresses cruxes and scholarly debates about the poem’s genre and meaning, including key questions that have been unresolved in Pearl studies for over a century:

  • What is the nature of the relationship between the Dreamer and the Maiden?
  • What is the significance of allusions to Ovidian love stories and the use of liturgical time in the poem?
  • How does avian symbolism, like that of the central symbol of the pearl, develop, transform, and add meaning throughout the dream vision?
  • What is the nature of God portrayed in the poem, and how does the portrayal of the Maiden’s intimate relationship to God, her spiritual marriage to the Lamb, connect to the poet’s purpose in writing?

Noting that the poem is open to many interpretations, Beal also considers folktale genre patterns in Pearl, including those drawn from parable, fable, and fairy-tale. The conclusion considers Pearl in the light of modern psychological theories of grieving and trauma. This book makes a compelling case for re-reading Pearl and recognizing the poem’s signifying power. Given the ongoing possibility of new interpretations, it will appeal to those who specialize in Pearl as well as scholars of Middle English, Medieval Literature, Genre Theory, and Literature and Religion.

CFP: International Pearl-Poet Society – International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI – May 2017

The International Pearl-Poet Society is sponsoring the following two paper sessions at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 11-14, 2017) at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI:

I: Death and Rebirth in the Pearl-Poet
II: The Transformative Pearl-Poet: Translation and Adaptation

We invite abstracts from scholars of all levels, dealing with one or all of the Pearl-Poems. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes long. Submissions should include one-page abstracts and the completed Participant Information Form (https://wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2016/medieval-pif-2017.doc). Please send these by September 13, 2016 to:

Kara Larson Maloney
kmalone3@binghamton.edu
Department of English, General Literature & Rhetoric
Binghamton University
PO Box 6000
Binghamton, NY  13902-6000

Epistemological Perspective of the Pearl-Poet by Piotyr Spyra

9781472430823

Epistemological Perspective of the Pearl-Poet

by Piotyr Spyra

(Ashgate Press, 2014)

Publisher’s overview:

  • Original and engaging, this study presents the four anonymous poems found in the Cotton Nero MS – Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – as a composite text with a continuous narrative. While it is widely accepted that the poems attributed to the Pearl-Poet ought to be read together, this book demonstrates that instead of being analyzed as four distinct, though interconnected, textual entities, they ought to be studied as a single literary unit that produces meaning through its own intricate internal structure. Piotr Spyra defines the epistemological thought of Saint Augustine as an interpretive key which, when applied to the composite text of the manuscript, reveals a fabric of thematic continuity. This book ultimately provides the reader with a clear sense of the poet’s perspective on the nature of human knowledge as well as its moral implications and with a deeper understanding of how the poems bring the theological and philosophical problems of the Middle Ages to bear on the individual human experience.